Monday, 13 June 2022

Alibis in the Archive 2022

This past weekend was an absolute joy. Alibis in the Archive took place at Gladstone's Library, for the first time in three years. We did a virtual Alibis last year, but it was great to get back to the Library and mingle in that wonderful, tranquil, bookish atmosphere - whilst also welcoming online attendees. As Louisa Yates of Gladstone's pointed out, this was the biggest event the Library has staged since the pandemic took hold and she and her colleagues did a terrific job. Plenty of books were sold and there was a great display of material from the British Crime Writing Archives

We assembled in Hawarden during Friday afternoon and after dinner I ran a 'pub quiz' on site - well contested and good fun. Saturday began with a terrific talk from Lynne Truss about Dr Bodkin Adams, who was acquitted of murder in the 50s, and she was followed by Philip Gooden, whose subject was spy fiction in the 60s - not Fleming, Le Carre, or Deighton, but their less well remembered peers. Fascinating.

I talked about the British Library Crime Classics, while Jean Briggs discussed Charles Dickens and detective fiction. A talk by Margaret Murphy about forensics and crime fiction brought a great day to a conclusion in time for dinner and an evening of good conversation (and a few drinks).

Sunday began with Cilla Masters talking about medicine and murder during the Golden Age, while Nicola Upson covered both Josephine Tey and Margery Allingham (and showed us a wonderful home movie featuring Margery Allingham's cricket parties!). Finally we had Dea Parkin, discussing the editing process and how to get a crime novel published. I'd aimed to put together an eclectic programme and I was delighted by the reaction of those present. It was grand to meet newcomers to Alibis as well as to meet up with old friends. And I'm glad to say that Alibis will be back next year: 9-11 June 2023 - make a diary note and do come and join us!


Paul Beech said...

Hi Martin,

Unfortunately, owing to a pressing prior commitment, I wasn’t able to come to Gladstone’s for Alibis this year. Maureen kindly let me use her laptop though, so I could attend a few of the talks virtually. (My old desktop isn’t equipped for Zoom.)

Philip Gooden’s Saturday morning talk on 1960s spy fiction was fascinating. William Haggard, Lionel Davidson, et al – I knew little about them before. I was delighted he included Francis Clifford as well – an old favourite of mine. (‘The Naked Runner’ takes some beating.)

And your Saturday midday talk on British Library Crime Classics, delivered without notes (but with the aid of a glass of water!) was brilliant, the need for diversity combined with quality, etc. (Maureen joined me for this one.)

Whilst Priscilla Masters’ Sunday morning talk on Medicine and Murder, drawing on her experiences as a nurse and so on, was chilling – in the best possible way!

Yes, I hugely enjoyed these online sessions. But I hope very much to make it to Gladstone’s for Alibis 2023. It’ll be my first live Alibis in four years, and I’ve noted the dates.

By the way, my copy of ‘The Life of Crime’ arrived yesterday and I can’t wait to get stuck into it. (Maureen gave me half the price as she knew how much I wanted the book.)

Best always,


Liz Gilbey said...

No comments yet? What is that about? There should be so many comments! A wonderful weekend in a unique venue. Great ambience, great company, fascinating speakers, and we all look forward to next year. Hang on, perhaps that is why there are no comments - everyone who was there wants to be sure they don't get trampled in the rush if they talk about it, so are staying mum and playing dumb. That makes sense. So thank you for organising and inspiring, Martin. See you all next year, everybody!

Martin Edwards said...

Paul, we missed you and Maureen, but delighted that you were able to see some of the talks online - a really welcome innovation. Hope you enjoy the magnum opus!

Martin Edwards said...

Liz, it was great to see you again and in excellent form after such a lengthy enforced absence. I'm already lining up speakers for next year and I'm very optimistic it will be equally enjoyable for speakers and readers alike